Fundamentals of Copyrights – Registration and Duration

Although many types of “creative” and “original” Works are deemed to have copyright protection from the moment that the Work created and “fixed in any tangible place”, in order for the owner of the copyright to receive greater rights and increase their own her ability to protect those rights the Work should be registered.

The United States Copyright Office is a division of the United States Department of Commerce. Registering with this office will greatly enhance the copyright owner’s ability to seek various types of damages if the copyright recently been infringed upon by another party. One should seek legal advice before trying to obtain registering a copyrighted Work, as it should be determined whether the Work is copyrightable, i.e. the type of Work for which a registration can be obtained. Simply applying to register a copyright does not necessarily mean the work in question is copyrightable.

The duration of copyrights varies from what type of work is in question as well as when it was created or registered. A work that was created on or after January 1, 1978 is protected from the time it is created, usually for the author’s life plus 70 years after the author’s death. For “a joint work prepared by more than one authors who did not work for hire,” the term created for 70 years pursuing the death of last surviving author.

The copyright term for works created and published or registered before January 1, 1978 will be the same as for those created on or after January 1, 1978, namely, life of the author plus 70 years. The 95/120-year terms Documents required for Copyright Registration in India works for hire apply to pre January 1, 1978 to these works also. However, phrase of copyright because of works cannot expire before December 31, 2002. For works published on or before December 31, 2002, the term will not expire before December 31, 2047.

A “work meant for hire” is one prepared by the employee within the scope of his or her employment or a work specially ordered or commissioned for certain types of use use such as a contribution to a collective work, a necessary part of a video or other audiovisual work, a translation, a supplementary work, a compilation and even instructional text if for example the parties agree written instrument that function will be considered a work designed for hire.

The copyright term for works specifically for hire and anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author’s identity is revealed in Copyright Office records) is either 95 years off the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

As with all areas of Copyright and Intellectual Property Law, it is advisable to consult with an attorney that specializes in this area. A number of law schools offer what is in order to as a Masters of Intellectual Property degree and the advice of an attorney with this regarding scholarship can be essential from the event a work created from all the way through the enforcement or recovery virtually any infringement.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It need not be construed as legal advice and readers are motivated to consult a qualified attorney regarding these things.